Posted by Sue Jones on May 13, 2019
Dr. Lillian Ney, left introduced Lisa Schmidfrederick Miller who spoke on Lead Poisoning in Chautauqua County, and both were welcomed by President Katie.
Honorary member Lillian Ney introduced Lisa Schmidtfredrick Miller who spoke on Lead Poisoning and Prevention in our county.
The main goal of the Lead Poisoning Primary Prevention Program is to prevent young children from being exposed to lead hazards, thus preventing lead poisoning. The program activities are focused in neighborhoods that have been identified as "communities of concern" where children are at high risk for lead poisoning. Lead Primary performs lead based paint exterior assessments, provides lead education, and other interventions. Any lead hazards that are identified are required to be remediated by the property owner. Training and some resources exist to assist the property owner in making the repairs in a lead safe manner.
Lead poisoning is 100% preventable. There is no safe level of lead in the blood and unfortunately it occurs most frequently in small children who put everything in their mouth and often will chew on items that may contain lead paint. Most often the problem is lead particles in dust.
In small children, whose brains are just developing, lead poisoning causes loss of IQ, aggression, memory difficulties, attention deficits, lessened concentration, poor fine motor control, difficulty planning, lack of impulse control, poor cognitive flexibility and problem solving.
Lead poisoning can also cause physical problems such as digestion, muscle control, and cardiovascular issues. It is essential that children between 1 and 3 years old are tested and treated if found to have elevated levels.
Our housing stock in Jamestown and the County is old and under-cared for. Certain neighborhoods in this area are identified to receive a concentrated intervention. These neighborhoods are called “areas of high risk” and are identified by the Chautauqua County Director of Health based upon NYS guidelines in the NYS Health Manual. Forty one per cent of the housing stock in Jamestown are rental units and many landlords have more rental units than they can possibly handle. A landlord may slap paint over the lead base paint, but it will only decompose in 4 to 5 years.
Who can participate in the program?
Anyone (property owners, tenants, and landlords) living or owning property in the program area; 1,2, or more unit homes that were built before 1978 (this is 91% of the housing stock in the City of Jamestown); children living in the home under the age of six or who spend 6 hours a week or more in the home. Multi-family homes in the targeted high-risk areas are automatically a participant.
County Lead Poisoning Primary Prevention Program specialists are available to teach landlords and contractors “Removal, Remodeling and Painting” techniques as well as free training on how to conduct “Lead Safe Work Practices (LSWP)” when doing repairs or remodeling in the home AND… there are free materials and supplies for doing the work “lead safe” after taking the LSWP course.
Mrs. Miller indicated that the program needs community partners, letters of support from community organizations and of course…funding. Chautauqua County is a “HOT SPOT.”
Rotarian Dr. Brett Apthorpe, Superintendent of Jamestown Public Schools stated how he applauds the work Mrs. Miller is doing. He has 5000 students in school in the city and 75% of those children live in poverty. Lead poisoning is a REALITY and we need to be REACTIVE. This is not a political but an ethical problem.